Important Things To Consider Before Traveling Abroad to Teach English

By  //  April 20, 2023

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Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions that requires a big heart and passion for the service of others. Teachers are pivotal in shaping young minds but often get paid a lot less than they should.

However, teaching offers high job security and you can also get the chance to travel abroad if you wish. 

One of the easiest ways to do that is to apply for an instructor position at an ESL program.

ESL programs or English as second language programs are popular around the world and give you the chance to experience a rich new culture while making an impact.

Here are some important things to keep in mind before traveling abroad to teach English:

Getting Ready 

Many teachers do these programs to do what they love while traveling. 

On the other hand, there are many travelers who want to enroll in such a program as the living costs are usually covered by the program and they essentially get paid to travel across a new country.

If you are part of the latter, you can easily get TEFL Certification online without disturbing your extensive travel routine as you get ready to teach abroad.

To get started on this journey, all you really need is a certification and your suitcase. Try your best to pack light and research online about the things you should pack. 

You should also look out for some travel advice from solo travelers to those countries and how they made the best of their chosen adventure.

Choose Your Destination Carefully

When applying to ESL programs, you will usually have a choice between several countries all with some benefits and downsides. 

You should make lists, weigh out the pros and cons, research, and even talk to other people about your decisions.

Choosing the wrong destination or finding a deal-breaker can ruin your expectations of an amazing experience. The best way to avoid this is to understand the brevity of the journey that you are about to embark on.

Keeping an open mind is a necessity when it comes to traveling, but when you enter the education system of another country, you will have to do a lot more than just experience a new culture for a day.

Preparing yourself for culture shock is the only real way to be prepared.

Learn The Local Language

This tip seems a bit odd to many people as knowing the local language should not be a necessity as you will be communicating with learners in English since you are trying to teach it.

While this might have worked for your high school Spanish class, it won’t work for an actual job as an ESL teacher. You will need good proficiency in the local language of the country you are traveling to.

You can teach someone what a chair is called in English by pointing to it but how do you talk about real-life and complex concepts such as love, religion, equality and even politics?

It makes complete sense when you think about how you learn a language. Most students need a starting point and being able to translate back and forth can help with exactly that.

Besides, many countries will issue you a work visa only if you qualify a minimum level of native language proficiency.

This is another reason many teachers and travelers choose to go places where they already know the language or are interested in learning.


Finally, going abroad to teach English can change your perspective on the seemingly rigid divides between countries and can help you change lives in ways you never deemed possible.

Good Luck!